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How to avoid burst pipes in winter2 min read

Feb 25, 2022 2 min

How to avoid burst pipes in winter2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Water leaks are always bad news – they mean property damage, wasted water and sometimes an expensive repair. Cold weather can burst pipes and damage outdoor faucets if the water inside them freezes. A frozen pipe can create major hassles, like water damage in your home. But a few simple steps can help Waterloo Region residents protect their pipes when temperatures drop below freezing:

  1. Disconnect and drain any outdoor hoses
  2. Turn off the outdoor water line’s shutoff valve. Outdoor faucets should have a shutoff valve a few feet inside the home
  3. Next, open the outdoor spigot to drain any water still inside
  4. Another option is to install freeze-proof outdoor faucets, which shut off water farther inside your home, where it’s safe from cold temperatures

Water pipes in unheated areas, like crawlspaces or garages, also need to be protected. The steps needed will depend on how cold the space is. Options include wrapping the pipe with foam sleeves or heating cable.

Finally, if you’re on vacation, keep the heat on so water pipes can’t freeze. Have someone check your home occasionally to make sure the heat is working and there are not water problems. It’s also wise to turn off your home’s water supply when on vacation, then drain your pipes by opening faucets and flushing toilets. Everyone should know where to find their home’s main water shutoff valve, usually in the basement. You can use this to turn off water to the home in case of a major leak or other issue.

If you have a rain barrel, a similar winter maintenance plan will also keep your barrel from freezing and cracking. Simply empty the barrel and flip it upside, then drain the hoses and store them inside.

Everyone has a role to play in helping keeping water flowing safely. In Waterloo Region, the Region provides clean, treated water. For most residents, the city or township delivers that water to you. Property owners are responsible for the water lines on their side of the property line. Every resident is also responsible for how much water they use and for keeping garbage and other contaminants out of the water system.

An outdoor pipe damaged by the cold is just one source of household leaks. Even small leaks add up over time, wasting water and pushing up your water bills. Did you know leaks are the most common source of high water consumption? The Region has free water efficiency programs to help you spot problems and conserve water in your home or business.